For any new readers, I (mostly) post my numbers every month. This is an effort to stay grounded. If you’re interested in my older monthly update posts, check them out here.
Well, 5/12 of the year has come and gone. I feel like as I get older, I’m more prone to saying “I can’t believe it’s already May!” or “June!” or whatever the next month is. Is it because my life is more packed with things or my memory’s starting to go? Who can say? Where did I put my keys?
Am I trying to distract you with poor jokes? If I am, it’s because I’m on the same downward trend as the rest of 2016. But we’re a positive group around here, so I’m going to rephrase that. I’m still making money even though I’m not listing at all.
Let that sink in for a minute.
I haven’t listed for the last 3 months, yet I’m still making money! This entails me shipping out items that I’ve had listed for about 6 months+. How sweet is that deal? I’m reaping what I sowed last year. I feel like a farmer who doesn’t have to worry about the winter. On top of that, May will forever be purge month. No, not those dumb Purge movies that I didn’t even know were a thing.
May 2015 vs. May 2016
|May-15||May-16||2015 YTD||2016 YTD|
|Sales Tax Collected||0.00||0.00||0.00||3.00|
|Cost of Goods Sold||118.21||175.86||454.00||273.86|
|Taxes and Licenses||0.00||0.00||0.00||34.98|
|Profit / Loss||804.15||114.02||2,305.21||1,368.93|
So yeah, I’m almost 1k down from 2015. I can tell you that I’ve definitely done less than 50% of the work compared to 2015, so I think I’m ahead now! This is part rationalization, but it’s also part truth.
As of writing this, I’m at exactly 300 items in my store. At my peak, I was at about 360 items. I’ve only sold 60 items in the past 4 months.
You’ll notice that I spent $175 on new items this month. It was a big month. A military base near my parents had a bi-annual yard sale during a rainy morning. This didn’t impact the size of the sale. I bought a lot of stuff. This was the first significant haul of the year. I spent 65% of my total inventory purchases for 2016 in May. Wow!
This explains why May was abysmal. I don’t remember the last month I had such low profits! As a comparison, I’m $30 away from the same profits in June and as of writing this, I’ve had 2 sales in June.
Do not become a hoarder. Purge!
With all the poor sales, am I down in the dumps? Hell no!
I bought a lot of great stuff. On top of that, May was organization month! After bringing all this stuff home, I started getting some nasty feelings. My garage was a wreck. Not good.
When you have trouble dealing with such a big job, it helps to have some outsiders give a hand. They don’t have the emotional attachments that you do. My parents and brother visited for the day, and my wife and I got to go through everything on my garage floor. I still have a whole shelf of unlisted material that I didn’t go through, but we made a lot of progress.
To choose whether to keep something, I used a systematic approach.
For every item, I picked it up and asked, “Do I want to spend time on this?”
That’s it. You don’t need to get into any more details.
Mark Forster’s is a productivity guru, and he has a ‘perfected’ method for dealing with a large to-do list. You start at the top, and go through the whole list while answering the question “What do I want to do more than x?” As you go down the list, you find the one thing which encompasses all the strings pulling at you. For a work to-do list, this simple question helps you prioritize based on many criteria:
- urgency (upcoming due date)
- guilt (I haven’t done this for too long)
- importance (could help you get a promotion)
- energy output (simple, quick task might be more palatable).
My question of “Do I want to spend time on this?” does the same thing. Do I want to go through my whole eBay process on this item? I’ve already purchased it, but that’s the easy part. Do I want to clean it? Do I want to research it? Do I want to photograph, store, and ship it? That last one has become more important to me lately. The bigger, complex items just don’t seem appealing. I’d rather deal with 3 t-shirts to make $100 instead of having to do the same thing for a bulky, likely to break item.
I had already missed the development’s yard sale, so instead I made a huge donation to a local drop-off. Did I leave money on the table? Sure, but mentally, I feel a lot better. The whole process was a little overwhelming. I saw all the things I still need to list and knew that these little trinkets weren’t worth it. The mental clarity gained from the extra few feet of space in my garage was worth missed profits.
eBay Fees – My store went up $10 this month, but I get more items to list for ‘free’. I also get a coupon for eBay shipping supplies (see the next note). Out of my hands, so I’m not going to complain about the price increase.
Office Supplies – If you have an eBay store, you should have gotten a coupon for eBay branded supplies. Orders from Zullily, Target, and Amazon have come in branded boxes or tape for years. Finally, eBay is getting on the ball with this. They offer a huge variety of eBay branded shipping supplies, from mailers to boxes and tape!
You get a different sized coupon depending on the size of your store. eBay also has a handy How-To. You can use the coupons quarterly although I can’t imagine that will be continuing for too long. If I had to guess, I think eBay overestimated how much material smaller sellers use.
I spent $5.47 (after my $50 coupon) and ended up getting a lot of materials. The tape is definitely the coolest. The poly-mailers are neat because they can be re-used. They have a perforation and two seals, but I couldn’t figure out a good way to seal it so someone else could actually re-use it.
Looking to June
After a low May, what am I going to do for June? I’m actually going to list something. I swear! I have been slowly going through and researching some items. The hardest part for me is that my time for listing has been eaten up by a cute little meatball baby. She is an early riser so I don’t get the 30-60 minutes in the morning to work on eBay. I’ll get to it. Or maybe I’ll end up giving up on some of them when May comes around next year, and I’ll purge them too. My “flop” yard sale would be better with some items that people actually want!
P.S. I try to respond to comments the day that they come in, but my e-mail hasn’t been receiving notifications about them. I’ll try to get it figured out.
How was your May? Are you keeping up with new yard sale inventory? Do you need to purge?
Image Credit: soozums